“Pehli Si Muhabbat” has been presented as an intense love story, but as the show continues, it’s proving to be much more than that with some strong messages written into it’s narrative – as is expected from its writer, Faiza Iftikhar. Directed by Anjum Shehzad, this drama stars Shehryar Munawar, Maya Ali, Hassan Shehryar Yasin, Uzma Shah, Paras Masroor, Nausheen Shah and Shabbir Jan in prominent roles. As of episode 4, “Pehli Si Muhabbat” has taken off as an exciting show with strong emotional content.
In episode 6, Aslam (Shehryar Munawar) finally manages to find the courage to put forward his thoughts before his family, stating that he would rather see Bushra’s home as his uncle’s home rather than the home of his in-laws, making it clear that he does not wish to marry Bushra and that he sees her as his sister. Akram (Hassan Sheheryar Yasin) flat-out ignores Aslam’s comment, stating that he will do as he is told and will marry Bushra. Period. Akram is a dynamic sort of character, one that’s important to all aspects of the story but also terribly unlikeable – while enjoyable to watch. This is a character who commands attention, but also enforces his opinion on everyone in the family, including his own mother. His word is the final word and HSY is doing a great job playing this strong role.
Aslam is frustrated at not being heard as his family sets out to set his marriage date despite his protests. And yet, they return home empty handed when Bushra’s father makes it clear that Aslam must be earning before he will marry his daughter off to him. This is a great scene as it shows the value Aslam’s uncle places on his own daughter, putting her happiness and comfort in front of his relationship to his sister – which is the right thing to do. The most interesting aspect of this entire story is Zainab (Uzma Hassan) and her dynamic with her mother (Saba Faisal) and Akram. Zainab has lost a lot at the hands of her family, forced into a marriage for the “crime” of loving someone of her choice, but most importantly, she has lost the relationship of love and trust she once had with her family. She no longer trusts her mother to protect her though she still loves her – but her relationship with Akram is tarnished, one that does not allow for mutual respect anymore. While Zainab cannot forget what he did to her, Akram will not allow Zainab to have a voice in “his” household matters, something which rubs Zainab the wrong way and forces her to retreat back to her home. What’s beautiful about Zainab is that for everything she has endured, she cannot bear to see the same happen to Aslam, her younger brother – and yet, she sees the same scene repeating before her eyes and is helpless to stop it. Uzma Hassan is a stellar performer, as always, and she has added so many different layers to the show as Zainab.
While Aslam attempts to ward off talk of his marriage, been given a year to deal with the situation, Rakshi (Maya Ali) fights a battle of her own. While her father (Shabbir Jan) is adamant on searching for a good husband for her, Nargis (Rabia Butt) puts the pressure on her to get her “mystery man” to send a proposal. Meanwhile, Rakshi and Aslam’s hidden love continues through texts and stolen glances. The relationship between Nargis and Rakshi is an interesting one. Nargis is a blunt character, one who speaks outright and does not mince words – but not being used to such an individual, Rakshi feels taunted by her, as though she’s being threatened. The two women are weary of each other, though they would be great allies. Nargis is a great character, one who states the realities of men in small-town society and serves as a reflection to that very society. Rabia Butt is an actress who chooses her roles wisely and she has, once again, chosen a great role for herself, one that remains in the viewer’s memory after the episode has ended.
It wouldn’t be wrong to say Rabia Butt and Uzma Hassan are the two women stealing the show in “Pehli Si Muhabbat.” Not only are they brilliant performers, but their roles are also well-written ones that make the audience sit up and take notice. While “Pehli Si Muhabbat” did not start off as a perfect show and seemed flawed, the quality of this show has gone up ten fold in the last 3 episodes, making it a must-watch. How will Aslam breach the topic of marriage to Rakshi and how will Rakshi pacify her father and Nargis? When will Zainab return and when will Saleem Mairaj appear as Sikandar? These are all things we are waiting to see!